EARLY WORKS | A narrative of my process

Much of my early work concentrated on exploring my affinity to dance and how I could appropriate it into my visual art oeuvre. All of the earlier work has been autobiographical up to this point. It has reflected a deeply personal journey of my own psychological growth as well as my awareness of an ever-changing environment.

SELF-PORTRAIT V | Body is engaged

Limited edition of 4: Self-Portrait I – V.

Dynamism exists in painting and dancing. It is these nuances in dynamic mark-making and movement which fascinate me. The slow adagio movement which is controlled and extended is not dissimilar to layered brushstrokes that compound to render an object over time.

In these self-portraits, the dynamism occurs between the negotiation of the body through the paint. The artist and the dancer in me are thinking about pressure, about line and about space all at once during the making of this self-portrait. My invention of a homogenised surface allowed a compression of 3-d space. In this way, the dynamism of mark-making and movement could be explored simultaneously just as I feel it exists for me. This performance manifested into a photograph that embodies the performer and painter. My ultimate self-portrait.

Self-Portrait I, 2012, Photographed performance piece with paint on glass (variable print sizes)

Self-Portrait II, 2012, Photographed performance piece with paint on glass (variable print sizes)

Self-Portrait III, 2012, Photographed performance piece with paint on glass(variable print sizes)

Self-Portrait IV, 2012, Photographed performance piece with paint on glass(variable print sizes)

SUBURBIA | Body is disembodied

Installation with sound, glass, concrete and grass 2014

Suburbia is a contested space in a country like South Africa and more so in a city like Johannesburg. Leafy avenues flanked by high walls hide palatial homes with manicured lawns. All are adequately protected by electric fences and barbed wire. 

I made this piece and the entire time I kept repeating “people in glass houses should never throw stones” – people who have faults, should not criticize other people for having the same faults. 

This installation became interesting when installed in a public sub-station or even more so at Constitutional Hill. The manicured appearance of the piece became jarring with the surrounding concrete and degeneration of the inner city landscape of Johannesburg. 

I am still unsure what I was trying to say. I exploited my privilege in one way by making expensive, dysfunctional glass sculptures that I thought represented the contained sanctuary of suburbia, but once they were displayed elsewhere my own dysfunctional thinking in turn became much more emphasised.

Suburbia, 2014, sound installation with blown glass, concrete, charcoal and freshly cut grass (dimensions variable).

Hand blown glass sculptures (Suburbia 2014)  – available for purchase.

Hand-blown glass sculptures (Suburbia 2014) – available for purchase.

Audience listening to sound installation (Suburbia 2014)

PREGNANT | Body is consumed

Installation with convex safety mirrors 2014

It’s very alien isn’t it, ladies? And strange; how something growing from the inside of the body forces an examination of your outside reality. Even after such an examination nothing appears normal. Your environment, in its entirety, is transformed by an unknown invader.

This installation invades the space like the baby in your body but yet the convex mirrors expand it. The more one looks into the mirrors of the artwork, the more one sees their surroundings. Pregnancy is the preparation for a mother to introduce her child into the world and during this phase, as a woman, her senses are heightened and she is acutely aware of the environment she is about to birth another human being into. In this piece I almost wanted others to be as aware. I wanted them to examine themselves and our collective environment so that my child might be born into something more improved. It was somewhat prophetic as my special needs son, Tyler, was born after this exhibition and his birth solidified this desire for improved tolerance in the world.  

Pregnant, 2014, convex mirror installation (dimensions variable)

Pregnant mirror installation reflecting Ode to Yves Klein performance. 

Obscured space (Pregnant 2014) 

Close-up image (Pregnant 2014)

ODE TO YVES KLEIN | Body is engaged

Performance piece with paint and canvas 2014

This performance is an acknowledgement of the practice of Yves Klein. His avant-garde, ritualised approach to painting and conceptual gestures have influenced Osso’s exploration of movement and materiality.

Movement is visceral and yet so is paint. Talented performer Yarisha Singh-Oberholzer explores movement in the slippery substance of paint on canvas.  Body and material require active responses and a sensitive play between understanding how the body moves in open space and what marks it thereafter produces. 

All factors contribute to experiencing an immediately rendered artwork. This work is a reminder to both artists and viewers that in order to create we need to be vulnerable and play. To play/talk/paint/dance in the moment pushes our boundaries to explore. Perhaps, it was a piece invented to remind me.

Yarisha Singh-Obelhozer beginning her performance (Ode to Yves Klein 2015)

Continuation of line (Ode to Yves Klein 2015)

Performance with paint and dance (Ode to Yves Klein 2015)

Aftermath (Ode to Yves Klein 2015)

Paint moves; the body does too (Ode to Yves Klein 2015)

Mark-making (Ode to Yves Klein 2015)

VIRTUALLY REAL | Body is removed

Painting exhibition, 2014

Virtually Real was the first time I became conscious of the relationship between mark-making and movement. My own movement was confined to my house after an assault in downtown Johannesburg. Due to my post traumatic stress my physical movement became limited to the world as it was presented through my phone. The body of work produced was my  first painting exhibition which explored the automatic, static movement I experienced. This was the beginning of my realisation that movement was deeply connected to imagery. The experience of sitting and scrolling on FB is removed yet intimate all at once. Explorative and stagnant just like a painting. 

(Sold) Dancer, 2009, acrylic on canvas 

(Sold) Curator, 2009, acrylic on canvas

(Sold) Female Artist, 2009, acrylic on canvas 

Lost Artist, 2009, acrylic on canvas

(Sold) Boy with Cat, 2009, acrylic on canvas

(Sold) Sisters, 2009, acrylic on canvas

2 paintings available from this body of work

Ballerina, 2009, acrylic on canvas

Karen Flemming, 2009, acrylic on canvas

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